Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Leezie M'Minn - by Samuel Turner

This latest offering is a poem called Leezie M’Minn written by Samuel Turner (1804-1861). Turner was a County Antrim man, born in Ballyeaston and taught at Loughmourne National School (near Carrickfergus) and at Ballycor, near Ballyclare. Although Turner contributed many poems to local newspapers and journals during his lifetime, a book of his poetry, Gleanings From Ballyboley Braes, was not published until after his death.

Leezie M'Minn

They talk o’ the spaewife o’ misty Glenramer,
O’ Madge o’ the hill-tap, an’ Kate o’ the Linn;
But trew me for devilrie cantraips and glamour
They may a’ cast their caps at auld Leezie M’Minn.
Sune as her loof ye hae cross’d wi’ the siller
She birls roun’ a cup,an’ she bids ye leuk in.
Och the foul thief himsel’ sure the words whispers till her,
That fa’ frae the lips o’ auld Leezie M’Minn.

Wauters o’ men come ilk day Leezie seekin’,
Frae hill an’ frae valley, frae hut an’ frae ha’;
Some in gay cleedin’, some barely a streek on,
Wee gilpies, young widows, auld maidens, an a’.
They come in the spring time, they come in the simmer,
They come when the snaw-drifts hae lang setten in,
They come o’ Fate’s black book to get a bit glimmer,
For wha can unravel’t like Leezie M’Minn?

She hecht to wee Mary the han’ o’ the Gauger,
Tho’ lang syne his troth he had plighted to Nell;
To Jeannie she spoke o’ a cuddy creel cadger,
An’ as she predicted, just sae it befel.
The cross-bones, the coffin,a ring that was broken,
Betocken’t that Nannie wad never get ane.
Nan swore it was lies the fause spaewife had spoken;
But as yet, true’s the word o’ auld Leezie M’Minn.

Should prowlers by nicht or by day rype your biggin’,
Despoilin’ your coffers o’ gowd and o’ gear,
On the tip-toe o’ hope to auld Leezie gae jeegin’,
Regardless how scoffers an’ scorners may jeer.
She’ll tell ye what’s stolen, she’ll tell ye wha did it,
An’ gin ye hae courage her glass tae keek in,
The face o’ the thief to your e’e she’ll exhibit,
Sae great is the power o’ auld Leezie M’Minn.

Gin Hawkie fa’ back o’ her milk an’ her butter,
Or haply lies rowtin’ elf-shot I’ the strwa,
Let Leezie but sain ‘er, some mystic words mutter,
An’ sune deil haet ails the puir beastie ava!
She’s far kent an’ noted for a’ I hae quoted,
An’ sair she’ll be miss’d when death tucks up her chin.
Tho’ frail noo, an’ feckless, an’ mair than half doted,
Yet show me the peer o’ auld Leezie M’Minn.

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